The Scorpion King was supposed to be a loose prequel to the fantastic
and refreshing, The Mummy and its much more prosaic sequel, The Mummy
Returns. This GBA game, Sword of Osiris, takes place after the ones
depicted in the prequel. So we have a sequel to a prequel in a trilogy.
But no matter because like The Scorpion King, this has as much to do
with the prequel movie as The Scorpion King has to do with The Mummy.
The story goes that Menthu decides to amass armies, as all evil figures
seem to have a knack for, to invade Egypt. Menthu decides to take a
page from Greek mythology and steals Cassandra, wife to Mathayus (aka
Scorpion King). Of course, like all evil figures, he forgot to read the
ending to that and Mathayus sets out on quest to retrieve his wife.
Naturally Mathayus, the good guy (although he is a bad guy in The Mummy
Returns but we won't dwell on that) wins in the end but only with a
heavy dose of your help, especially those platform skills you've honed
in countless GBA titles before. Sword of Osiris is a classic platform
game in every sense. Mathayus is equipped with a plethora of acrobatic
stunts and weapons that allow you to pull off some pretty classy
choreographed moves with the GBA's limited controls. Each level, it
seems, throws one type of challenge at you that demands you to master a
certain move. Each level's end pits you against a predictable boss
battle. Repeat this formula for six different worlds and you've got
Sword of Osiris in a nutshell.
The visuals in Sword of Osiris are well done for a platform game,
although you will never get the idea that this is anything but a
platform title. The animation of the characters is well done,
especially that of the star Mathayus. His range of abilities makes him
the most remarkable of the character set you'll encounter. The audio is
also something that helps carry through the game. The soundtrack and
effects are commendable. They exert a real effort to support the
adventure theme, just as John William's score did for Indiana Jones.
The music here, however, is not on par with any film composers but still
respectable for a game.
Mathayus' trip to defeat Memnon was relatively short. His whole
vendetta was carried out within a ninety-minute movie piece. Menthu
proves no tougher. Any competent platform gamer will be able to finish
this within a few days, if not less. Any incompetent platform gamer
like me will be able to tough it out within a working week. The reward
for all this is the ability to play as Cassandra in place of Mathayus.
However, this is in the same narrative again. If you can accept this
game for what it is, it should prove to be an enjoyable experience. It
aspires not to defy its spiritual ancestors. It aspires not to tear
apart the boundaries that surround its genre. Like the popcorn movies
the license was born out of, it really has no aspiration but to
entertain. This it does wonderfully, even though some aspects of the
gameplay, level design and audio-visuals are ultimately unfulfilling.
It's in this respect that Sword of Osiris may have carried too much from
the movie itself. It really forces you to make peace with the limited
ambition of the work. But once you do that, it plays out like a popcorn
movie: a fun ride while it lasts.